Deepwater wins offshore wind auction


Deepwater Wind New England has won the first auction for offshore wind tracts the United States has ever held, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced last week.

Deepwater was one of three companies who bid for the areas off the coasts of Rhode Island and Cuttyhunk.

The planned construction of up to 200 wind turbines off the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts would be the largest offshore wind farm in the United States, according to Deepwater Wind New England.

“This is an enormous step forward for the industry. This is the best site for offshore wind in the United States, bar none,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski in a statement. “Our Deepwater Wind Energy Center Project will produce clean power and jobs for an entire region. It’s very exciting.”

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which awarded Deepwater the tract of 164,750 acres for $3.8 million, said the area is large enough to produce a farm with a capacity of 3,395 megawatts, enough to power one million homes. Deepwater’s plans call for capacity of more than 1,000 megawatts, enough to power 350,000 homes.

The development, which is between Block Island, Rhode Island, and Martha’s Vineyard, will also create a “regional transmission system linking Long Island, New York, to southeastern New England,” according to Deepwater, which said none of its turbines will be closer than 13 miles from land and they will be barely visible from shore.

To the east of Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Wind, proposed more than a decade ago, has secured all its permits and is putting together financing for the project while fending off persistent opposition. Cape Wind plans 130 turbines with an average production of 174 megawatts and maximum production of 454 megawatts, 5.6 miles from Cotuit on Cape Cod.

Deepwater is also part of a planned development in Kingston, R.I., called Quonset Business Park, which is jockeying with the South Terminal in New Bedford to be the staging area for Cape Wind and other offshore projects.